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Bradley v. School District No. 1.

2021 COA 140. No. 20CA0954.  Colorado Governmental Immunity Act—Notice of Claim.

November 18, 2021

Bradley was injured when she slipped and fell on an icy stairway at an elementary school. A claims adjuster ultimately determined that the school was not at fault but would provide a discretionary no-fault $1,000 payment for her medical expenses. Bradley’s attorney later sent a letter to the interim school superintendent titled “Notice pursuant to C.R.S. section 24-10-109 on behalf of Lisa Bradley.” The letter provided Bradley’s name and address; referred to her as “Claimant”; identified the date, time, and location of the accident; and described the factual and legal bases of the claim. Bradley subsequently filed a premises liability lawsuit against the school district. The school district moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and the district court denied the motion.

On appeal, the school district argued that the district court erred by denying its motion because the attorney’s letter did not include an explicit request for monetary damages and therefore did not qualify as “written notice” under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). The CGIA requires a person seeking to assert a tort claim against a public entity to file a written notice of claim within 182 days of discovering the injury. The Court of Appeals determined that no particular words must be recited to strictly comply with the written notice requirement; a document constitutes written notice of a claim under the CGIA when it reasonably and objectively can be inferred from the document as a whole that the claimant is claiming monetary damages. Here, Bradley’s notice clearly asserted such a claim.

The order was affirmed.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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